Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Welby, Orthodox Patriarch pledge to fight modern slavery

Posted on: February 12th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

By Tali Folkins on February, 10 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, left, and His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople, sign a joint declaration on modern slavery at a forum in Istanbul, Turkey, February 7. Photo: Lambeth Palace


Rani was sold into slavery when she was just 12. For eight years, until she escaped, she worked without pay or a day off, sleeping on the floor and rarely getting outside.

Rani, now an anti-slavery campaigner, lived her experience with slavery not in some developing world sweatshop, but in private homes in the U.K., attendees at a forum on modern slavery, held February 6-7 in Istanbul, learned.

Alastair Redfern, bishop of the Church of England’s diocese of Derby, told Rani’s story to the scholars, policy-makers and others gathered at the forum, which was co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Patriarch—the most prominent patriarch of the world’s Orthodox Christians—and the Church of England. Rani was made a slave, Redfern commented, “to make other people comfortable,” according to an Anglican Communion News Service article.

On the last day of the conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarch, signed a joint declaration on modern slavery. The religious leaders pledged to:

•    Condemn human enslavement in all its forms.

•    Commend many countries’ efforts to fight slavery.

•    Pray that today’s slaves be freed.

•    Repent for not having done “nearly enough swiftly enough” to curb slavery.

•    Appeal to governments to put strict anti-slavery laws in place.

•    Urge members of both churches and “all people of good will” to become more aware of modern slavery and take action against it.

•    Commit to establish a joint taskforce charged with recommending ways for both churches to collaborate against slavery.

Commenting on the conference’s title—Sins Before Our Eyes—Welby said, “Slavery is all around us, but we are too blind to see it. The enslaved are next to us in the streets, but we are too ignorant to walk alongside them.”

The forum explored modern slavery and labour exploitation in a variety of forms, including in the “supply chains” that provide people with the goods and services they consume; domestic servitude; prostitution; cyber exploitation; and organ trafficking.

Modern slavery, Redfern told the forum, is “the litmus test of whether the Gospel of Jesus Christ has purchase in our times.”

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency, almost 21 million people work in forced labour—11.4 million women and girls, and 9.5 million men and boys. Of these, about 19 million are enslaved by individuals or companies, and about 2 million by states or rebel groups. Of those in the first category, 4.5 million are sex slaves.

Areas of the economy involving the most forced labour are domestic work, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and entertainment, with the slave economy generating $150 billion U.S. (roughly $200 billion Cdn. as of press time) in profits annually. Most vulnerable to slave labour, according to the ILO, are migrant workers and Indigenous people.

In 2014, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Muslim spiritual leaders gathered at the Vatican to sign an agreement, pledging to end forced labour and sexual exploitation by 2020.

Human trafficking is one of the concerns of the Anglican Church of Canada’s public witness for social and ecological justice, and its website contains resources on human trafficking and slavery in Canada.

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, February 10, 2017

Diocese of B.C. urges Canada to accept more refugees

Posted on: February 11th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

By André Forget on February, 09 2017

 

Rebecca Siemens (right), diocesan refugee program co-ordinator, speaks with a woman hoping to sponsor as refugees members of her family who are still in Syria. Photo: Contributed

 

In a public statement released February 7, the Anglican diocese of British Columbia called on the government of Canada to increase its targets for refugee resettlement to allow at least 7,000 more refugees to enter the country this year.

The statement noted that Canada has set a target for 25,000 refugees to be resettled in 2017, compared to the previous year’s target of 44,800.

Given the “unprecedented need for refugee resettlement” in the wake of a U.S. government executive order suspending refugee admissions for 120 days, the statement urged Ottawa to “continue to show leadership” in refugee resettlement.

“We recognize that we cannot fill the vacuum the U.S. government has left, but we must do what we can,” it said.

Using statistics from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the statement noted that of the 25,000 refugees to be resettled in Canada, the government plans to sponsor 7,500. Of the remainder, 16,000 will be sponsored privately, and 1,500 will be Blended Visa Office-Referred refugees (BVOR), supported by both government and private sponsors.

These numbers indicate a significant decline from the targets set in 2016, when, according to IRCC, the government promised to resettle 25,000 government-assisted refugees, and help support 3,000 BVOR refugees.

The statement calls on Canada to increase resettlement efforts so that government and BVOR refugee sponsorships in 2017 are “at least equal to” the number of privately sponsored refugees.

Following the U.S. executive order, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Canada would welcome those “fleeing persecution, terror & war,” but his government has yet to announce any changes to its refugee resettlement targets.

 

Justin Trudeau  

@JustinTrudeau

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength

 

 

The diocese of British Columbia said it is currently sponsoring 268 refugees, an effort being supported by “over 500” volunteers. This includes a partnership with the Islamic Centre of Nanaimo and Mosque Al-Iman in Victoria that has focused on supporting Muslim refugees.

The statement also denounced the January 29 attack on a Quebec City mosque that left six worshippers dead, and expressed “outrage” at the U.S. executive order, which, in addition to suspending refugee admissions, temporarily bans entry to the U.S. for citizens of Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, diocesan communications officer Catherine Pate said that while the diocese has been involved in refugee work for some time, in 2016 it took the additional step of hiring a refugee co-ordinator, Rebecca Siebert.

“There is a lot of energy in the diocese for refugee resettlement and support,” said Pate, noting that the diocese sees refugee resettlement as part of a larger commitment to local and global reconciliation efforts.

Pate and Siebert both noted that the energy behind the statement came predominantly from volunteers involved in working with and advocating on behalf of refugees.

Pate said they are considering redrafting the statement as a letter to the government.

“I assume that that is the next step,” she said.

 

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, February 10, 2017

Anglican Foundation sees more requests to fund innovative ministry

Posted on: February 8th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Tali Folkins on February, 06 2017


Migrant farmworkers in Fenwick, Ont., try on winter coats at a free store run by St. Alban’s Anglican Church, Beamsville, funded, in part, by a grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada.
Photo: Contributed


A rebrand launched a few years ago at the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) translated into requests to fund unusually innovative ministry projects in 2016, say Foundation officials.

“We’re receiving applications and RFP proposals for all kinds of very interesting projects,” says AFC executive director Canon Judy Rois. “This was the year of movement into an organization that is looking to support the Anglican Church of Canada at a whole new level.”

Traditionally seen as a source of funding for infrastructure-type projects—church roof repairs and basement renovations, for example—the Foundation has in recent years been putting increasing focus on supporting ministry it considers especially innovative. In 2013, it launched a new logo and taglineimagine more—intended to express creativity, innovation and imagination. Last year, Rois says, this brand seemed to “take hold across the country,” as it received more requests to fund ministry beyond church walls.

Scott Brubacher, AFC’s executive administrator, agrees. Some memorable projects funded last year include, for example, an outreach ministry for migrant workers; an Indigenous language mentorship project; and a lay spiritual education program, he says.

AFC disbursed roughly $725,000 in grants in 2016, down from $850,000 the previous year, but well above the average of $623,000 for the 10 years from 2007-2016. It funded 39 projects in dioceses across Canada, and also awarded $103,000 in bursaries to students at 15 theological schools.

Of the $725,000, about $130,000 consisted of “automatic disbursements”—payouts the fund makes to the same recipients every year, such as The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and a number of seminaries.

In May, the Foundation awarded a grant of $10,000 to St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Beamsville, Ont., to support the church’s ministry to migrant workers. The ministry includes providing worship in Spanish plus access to medical and legal services, English-language classes, bicycles and more.

In November, AFC announced $10,000 to Aboriginal Neighbours, an ecumenical group launched by the diocese of British Columbia. The grant is to go toward the organization’s Revitalization of Indigenous Living Languages project—a project pairing people wanting to learn an Indigenous language with mentors who want to teach them. The program, Brubacher says, has proven very popular.

“Apparently there are dozens of pairs that want to be able to do this, and there’s just not nearly enough funding to help make it happen, so we’ve been happy to help sponsor some of these pairs to keep Indigenous languages alive,” he says.

Also in November, the AFC awarded $6,350 to the diocese of New Westminster for its Lay Spiritual Renewal Project, a program aimed at encouraging young Anglicans to become more actively engaged in Christian life and mission. The multi-year project is one of a number of diocesan education programs the Foundation is sponsoring, Brubacher says.

The amount of money given out by the Foundation in any year depends on a number of factors, Brubacher says, including the performance of investments in the fund and the requests for funding that are made. It’s also directly dependent on the amount of donations that come in—a fact that many Anglicans may be unaware of, he says.

Contributions to AFC in 2016 totalled roughly $300,000, Brubacher says. The figure includes annual contributions as well as special one-time gifts and bequests.

Created in 1957 to financially support ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, AFC will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year.

 

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, February 08, 2017

New Co-ordinator for the International Anglican Family Network

Posted on: February 7th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: February 7, 2017

Revd Angela Morrison and Dr Sally Thompson
Photo Credit: ACNS

[ACNS] The International Anglican Family Network (IAFN), has appointed a new Co-ordinator, Deacon Angela Morrison, who will be taking over from Dr Sally Thompson, recently retired from the role after a quarter of a century.

The role of the UK based Co-ordinator involves facilitating the exchange of news, information and resources among those within the worldwide Anglican Communion who have a passion for promoting the well-being of families and their communities.

Angela Morrison has worked as a primary school teacher for children with special educational needs and in family and community social services. Deacon Angela, originally a native of South Africa, has lived in Canada for a number of years but recently moved back to the UK: “I’m excited about this new role. There’s clearly a lot for me to learn. I am excited to be part of something in support of the structure of family well-being,” she said. “I enjoy connecting people to resources that are necessary to help support people in different situations on a global scale. Families need support so that children can grow up solid in their identity.”

The network sends out a newsletter two or three times a year and is also growing its social media profile, via Facebook. Dr Sally Thompson says over 25 years she has worked with a wide range of issues that have an impact on families, including human trafficking, homelessness, slavery and refugees as well as faith and the family. So what have been the more significant achievements? “Sowing the seed of importance about birth registration and being able to raise the profile of this issue. Also making progress to tackle gender violence, by empowering women. It’s been an amazing experience to see IAFN develop over the years.”

Deacon Angela says one priority will be to grow the social media aspect of the network, although the traditional printed newsletter still has its place, not least in parts of Africa where people request it: “It’s about sharing stories and making connections globally and learning from each other. For instance, as hard as it is to believe, birth registration is an issue in the USA in some communities – so we can take lessons from other places where progress has been made, like Uganda, and share the information in a constructive way. Raising awareness is vital.”

Working with those involved in the development and delivery of family ministries, IAFN engages across the Anglican Communion to celebrate the God-given potential of the family as a source of thriving relationships, identity, belonging, discipleship and reconciliation.  The network also operates as an advocate for the family in the face of behaviours which diminish this potential, sharing stories of hope, promoting family care and sustaining the family as the cradle for human dignity.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Tuesday 7 February 2017

Anglican Churches around the globe launch “JustWater”

Posted on: February 7th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: February 6, 2017

JustWater
Photo Credit: JustWater

Cathedrals and churches on four continents have come together to raise awareness and activism about water by launching the JustWater website.   It’s an international initiative organised by St George’s Cathedral (Cape Town); St Paul’s Cathedral (London); St Paul’s Cathedral (Melbourne); and Trinity Church Wall Street (New York). The project aims to draw attention to the issues around water  – whether these challenges are flooding, drought, rising tides or access to fresh water and sanitation.  The Primate of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, is the keynote speaker at the launch of the initiative tonight (Monday) in London.

In the coming weeks, major events are scheduled to coincide with the season of Lent and around UN World Water Day on 22 March 2017 to support social justice efforts on water issues.  Canon Heather Patacca, Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, said “For many of us access to fresh water is something we take for granted unlike those who walk half a day to draw water from a well or stream. Nothing exists without water. Water raises issues of justice and equity but looks different in each local context.”

JustWater is designed to be a free and open resource to help equip community and church leaders as advocates for water justice. The project is intended to grow to include other organisations that wish to participate, bringing together business, science, religion and the arts to help deepen understanding and build a shared community for action. Events and outcomes from the project will be highlighted on the new website as well as on social media using the hashtag #justwater17.

The Very Revd David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral London, said ‘How we deal with water shows how much we value one another. The church working around the world in partnership, to share resources and raise awareness of water-related issues, is a sign of how humanity can achieve together for the benefit of all what we cannot do on our own.’

The Director of St Paul’s Institute,  which is supporting the programme, Barbara Ridpath,  expressed the hope that it would encourage other congregations around the world to do something for World Water Day in March or to undertake one of the Lenten studies that are available: “The entire intention of the programme is twofold: firstly, to leverage resources so that more cathedrals and churches can engage without ‘reinventing the wheel,’ adapting the programme to their locally specific issues around water, and secondly, to demonstrate that we can have greater impact when we speak with one voice.”

On Monday night’s launch in London,  Archbishop Thabo is due to say that in Cape Town, as a result of diminished rainfall  over the past year, the dams supplying water for its metropolitan area are only 29 percent full, with 3 months’ supply left: “Our water crisis has had the effect of concentrating my mind on how precious water is and on how devastating the effects of scarcity can be.”

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 6 February 2017

Next Anglican-Lutheran Joint Assembly postponed to 2022

Posted on: February 6th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

By Tali Folkins on February, 02 2017

The date for the next Joint Assembly of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has been postponed from 2019 to 2022, say Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and ELCIC national bishop Susan Johnson. Photo: Art Babych


The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have decided to postpone the date of their next Joint Assembly to 2022.When the national governing bodies of both churches met together for the first time in 2013, they agreed in principle to hold a second Joint Assembly in 2019. In a joint statement released Thursday, February 2, ELCIC national bishop Susan Johnson and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, say organizers from both churches have been working to put the plan in place, with Vancouver chosen as host city.

However, Hiltz and Johnson say they now foresee a number of challenges standing in the way of a 2019 Joint Assembly—including insufficiencies of money and of time, given the busy agendas expected for both General Synod and the ELCIC’s National Convention, and the difficulty of finding appropriate meeting places.

“One of the realizations that has come to light is the challenge around aligning our two gatherings in a way that feels meaningful and in the best spirit of Full Communion,” the statement says. “Part of this is simply the mass of work before our two national bodies in the governance of each of our churches.

“There are also logistical concerns—finding venues that work for both our churches simultaneously has proven to be a real challenge,” it continues, adding that organizers face the additional challenge of mounting an event that would be “within the financial constraints” of the ELCIC and within the time requirements of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Hiltz and Johnson say they did not relish the possibility of rushed meetings and harried assembly members.

“The prospect of a Joint Assembly where we are each hurrying through agenda and scrambling on and off buses to commute to one another’s venue in order to accommodate time together was not a prospect that we welcomed,” the statement continues. “We are both very mindful of the need of both our churches to have adequate time to do the work they must do. Both of us would also want the maximum amount of time together in Joint Assembly.”

As a result, the two national church leaders proposed to the councils of their respective assemblies—ELIC’s National Church Council and the Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod—to reschedule the Joint Assembly to 2022, “in a venue that will accommodate the national bodies of both our groups together, as well as providing separate meeting places for the work unique to each of our churches.” They also proposed that planning for the 2022 Joint Assembly start immediately.

The proposal was passed by both councils in a vote by email, Hiltz and Johnson say. They add that they believe holding the Joint Assembly in 2022 will provide an opportunity to celebrate more than two decades of the two churches’ full communion relationship.

The Anglican Church of Canada and the ELCIC voted for full communion in 2001, after 15 years of talks. The relationship allows members to worship and take communion in each other’s churches, and clergy from each church to preside at one another’s services.

Hiltz and Johnson conclude the statement by thanking God “for all who are at work in hundreds of places across our two churches to realize the Full Communion relationship that has been written so deeply on our hearts.”

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, February 02, 2017

‘With sympathy and solidarity with Sainte-Foy’

Posted on: January 30th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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‘With sympathy and solidarity with Sainte-Foy’

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In a mosque in Ste-Foy in the City of Québec full of devout Muslims gathered for Evening Prayer, their chanting was shattered by the crack of gunfire, leaving six people dead, scores of others injured, a neighbourhood traumatized, and a nation horrified.

My heart, indeed the hearts of all people of good will, goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack. We hold in our prayers those who have died, for their families and for their imams who care for them in their grief. We also pray for those who have been injured and for those tending them. We remember too the police, and all others whose daily work is to “serve and protect”.

At moments like this, people of faith must stand together in solidarity for those values common to our respective religious traditions: the adoration of God, the respect we owe one another as fellow human beings, and the care with which we tend the earth, our common home.

In the Readings for Sunday past we heard the call of the prophet Micah – “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God?” (6:6-8). We also heard Jesus teaching in the Beatitudes, that we are called to be merciful, to hunger and thirst for right relations with one another, to do what makes for peace among all.

These are the values that make us children of God, friends in faith, and citizens of the world. Please join me in praying for the people of Ste-Foy and especially for our Muslim friends in this very difficult time.

Christian leaders express solidarity with Muslims following Quebec attack

Posted on: January 30th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By André Forget on January, 30 2017


Torontonians observe a moment of silence for victims of the January 29 Quebec City mosque shooting. Six people were killed and 19 others wounded in the attack, which occurred during evening prayers. Photo: Chris Helgren/Reuters


(This story has been updated with new information about the shooting and additional reactions from church leaders across Canada.)

Anglicans and other Christian leaders have expressed their “sympathy and solidarity” with Muslims following a deadly attack Sunday night on a mosque in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City.

The attack, which left six people dead and 19 others wounded, occurred just before 8 p.m., Jan.29, when a gunman opened fire while evening prayers were underway at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec.  Police have charged Alexandre Bissonnette, 27,  with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

In a January 30 statement, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said his heart “goes out to all Muslims across Canada as they struggle with this terrible attack.”  The church holds in its prayers the victims of the attack, their families and their imams, he said.

Hiltz also led national office staff in a 15-minute candlelight service at the Chapel of the Holy Apostles in Toronto to pray for the victims, their families, the Muslim community, the people of Quebec and Canada.

CTV News quoted Mohamed Labidi, vice-president of the Islamic centre, as having described the attack as “a very big tragedy for us.” Labidi added: “We have a sadness we cannot express.” Newspaper reports said the victims were fathers, civil servants and academics.

Hiltz called on people of faith to “stand together in solidarity for those values common to our respective religious traditions,” such as love of God, respect of fellow humans and care for the Earth, and reminded Anglicans of the Old Testament passage from the prophet Micah that had been read earlier on the very same day: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God?” (Micah 6:8).

A joint statement was also issued by Coadjutor Bishop of Quebec Bruce Myers and Bishop of Montreal Mary Irwin-Gibson expressing their “grief and repugnance at this brutal act of violence against another community of faith” in the midst of prayer.

“When one is attacked, we are all attacked, and our whole society is diminished,” they said.

Myers and Irwin-Gibson, who are currently in Canterbury, England, attending a week of formation for recently consecrated bishops, encouraged Anglicans to participate in vigils being held at Église Notre-Dame-de-Foy in Quebec City and at Parc metro station in Montreal January 30.

“Along with our grief and prayers, we are called as disciples of Jesus to express our solidarity with our neighbours who are Muslim,” the statement said.

The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) expressed “shock and sadness” at the attack, and in a statement signed by CCC president Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, recommitted itself to “opposing the hate and prejudice that disfigures our communities and leads to violence both at home and abroad.”

The statement also noted that Quebec’s Muslim community “has been the target of hateful, Islamophobic acts within the recent past,” and that the CCC’s member churches would work toward “protecting and advancing the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for all Canadians.”​

When contacted by the Anglican Journal following the release of his joint statement, Myers cautioned against making any assumptions about what had motivated the attack on the mosque, given that the investigation was still unfolding.

However, he acknowledged that the Muslim community was “clearly targeted.”

Myers had first become acquainted with the Islamic Cultural Centre in June 2016, shortly after taking up the role of coadjutor bishop. Following an incident in which a severed pig’s head was left outside the doors of the mosque with a note reading “bon appétit” during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Myers visited the mosque to express his regret about the incident.


 

Bishop Bruce Myers meets with Sheikh Mohammed Serrar at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec following the incident of the pig’s head. Photo: Contributed


“The incident with the pig’s head, I think, clearly shows that there is at least some element of Islamophobia in Quebec City, but I think that could be said of every city [in Canada],” he said. “My hope and conviction is that it is not representative in a widespread way of the city of Quebec and its citizens.”

Myers says one of his first priorities upon returning from Canterbury will be getting in touch with the Islamic Cultural Centre’s community and building on the relationship he established in 2016.

“This isn’t going to be something that resolves itself tomorrow,” he said. “I think we will find that this will leave a deep scar on the soul of our city, and it is something with which we are going to have to wrestle for weeks and months and years to come.”

He encouraged Anglicans to take to the streets and join the many “spontaneous” vigils springing up in Quebec City and Montreal to “visibly express” solidarity with Muslims.

“That can be as simple as just joining other people in the community in which you live to say, ‘We stand with these people, and we don’t want this sort of thing to happen again,’ ” said Myers.

Some Anglican churches, like Ottawa’s Christ Church Cathedral, played a role in hosting gatherings and vigils. Others, such as the diocese of Huron, encouraged people to attend community gatherings.

Bishop Michael Oulton, of the diocese of Ontario, announced that a service using the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation will be held at noon February 3 on the steps of St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Kingston to “focus our prayers and actions on the ministry of reconciliation” in the wake of the attack.

Bishop Peter Fentry, area bishop for York-Simcoe in the diocese of Toronto, also released a statement on January 30, calling on Anglicans in Toronto with connections to mosques to “reach out to imams and their people, letting them know that we stand with them in this time of trial.”

The diocese of British Columbia also released a statement referencing the one released by Hiltz, calling on Anglicans to stand with those affected by the shooting.

“Acts of violence of every kind must be challenged, and those giving rise to widespread fear must be repudiated as contrary to our shared values of compassion, peace and justice,” the statement said.

The response was not limited to Canadian religious leaders. Pope Francis also expressed his condolences for the community.

In a telegram to Quebec Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, he entrusted “to the mercy of God the persons who lost their lives,” and expressed his “profound sympathy for the wounded and their families.”

The Vatican’s office of relations with Muslims condemned the attack, saying it “violated the sacredness of human life and the respect owed to a community in prayer in a place of worship.”

 

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, January 30, 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day: Welby warns against ‘collusion with evil’

Posted on: January 28th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Gavin Drake/ACNS on January, 27 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Birkenau-Auschwitz earlier this month. Photo: Lampal


The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has urged people to resist a “post-truth” culture “at every level and in every conversation and debate”. He made his comments in a speech at a memorial service in Westminster, London, last night (Thursday) in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day. Each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of Birkenau-Auschwitz – the international community reflects on the holocaust and other genocides.

In his speech, Archbishop Welby said: “I have just returned from a visit to Auschwitz – Birkenau, with 60 clergy; its witness is to appalling human suffering caused by the terrible collusion of the silent majority.

“Whilst Jews and others were caricatured and vilified by unscrupulous politicians and venal newspapers, there was an unquestioning acceptance by ordinary people.

“Life goes amid a culture of alternative facts, of post truth, of collusion with deeds which sing the tunes of evil, a culture which needs to be challenged at every level and in every conversation and debate in this country, if it is indeed to be a place of safety and healing for those fleeing tyranny and cruelty, if indeed life is to go on, flourishing and fully.”

Afterwards, in an interview for BBC News, Archbishop Justin discussed his recent visit to Birkenau-Auschwitz, saying: “The most profound thing that struck me was the sheer mechanistic efficiency and the normality for those who did these terrible things: the accountants, the doctors, the architects: they just did their jobs and they never really focused on what those jobs were.

“It was absolute destruction of humanity – and their own humanity, although they didn’t know it.

“That was very powerfully seen; and I think that has to say to us we must be alert and we must speak out.”

In his speech, Archbishop Justin said: “Life goes on but the end of the killing does not mark the end of the suffering. Liberation for the survivors is a two-edged sword. It brings an end to appalling dehumanisation and suffering but starts the rest of a life, often marked by memories of what has happened, memories that circle the psyche, looking for moments to recapture the personality, and which torture and humiliate again and again.

“The restoration of individuals and communities is our responsibility as a society that rightly holds to biblical Judeo-Christian injunctions to welcome the stranger in our midst and to seek the flourishing of all within our land.”

Last night’s event, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, opposite Westminster Abbey, was attended by the UK Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis; the British government minister with responsibility for communities, Sajid Javid; and opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn; as well as 200 survivors of the Holocaust and genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda.

 

About the Author

Gavin Drake/ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service)

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Anglican Journal News, January 27, 2017

In Edmonton, Anglicans help city mobilize against poverty

Posted on: January 27th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Tali Folkins on January 24, 2017

 

Jane Alexander, bishop of the diocese of Edmonton and co-chair of EndPovertyEdmonton, says the church’s involvement in the initiative means a chance for it to show it’s serious about its commitment to the poor. Photo: Diocese of Edmonton

 

A collaborative anti-poverty initiative co-chaired by Jane Alexander, bishop of Edmonton, will receive $2.4 million in funding from the city over the next two years—and the diocese is undertaking a slew of its own projects to support it.

Alexander says she was thrilled when Edmonton City Council unanimously approved funding for the EndPovertyEdmonton Implementation Road Map, a citywide initiative of which she is co-chair, December 13.

“You know, it’s a tough year for everybody economy-wise, and we were asking for a lot of money, and they gave us every penny we asked for…We couldn’t believe it,” she says.

The money will help fund 15 of the 35 “priority actions” that make up EndPovertyEdmonton’s five-year plan for lifting 10,000 Edmontonians out of poverty. These 35 include, for example: designing and planning a new Indigenous culture and wellness centre; advocating the idea of a “living wage” among city employers; creating ways for vulnerable people to participate in city committees; giving a 60 per cent discount to eligible low-income transit passengers; and advocating for increased funding for mental health services.

The city will provide $1.265 million for the initiative in 2017 and $1.178 million in 2018.

City council also confirmed it would fund the creation of a new community development corporation for the city, intended to help revitalize vulnerable neighbourhoods—one of the “cornerstones” of EndPovertyEdmonton, Alexander says.

EndPovertyEdmonton will not be a separate agency, but rather an attempt to connect diverse groups and individuals and help them collaborate. More than 40 community agencies, from philanthropic organizations to schools to charities, have already aligned their own strategies with that of EndPovertyEdmonton, Alexander says.

“We’ve got incredible momentum around the shared vision to end poverty through the city right now,” she says. “We’re all trying to get to the same place using the same methods—it’s just fantastic.”

According to the EndPovertyEdmonton website, more than 100,000 Edmonton residents live in poverty, making less than $16,968 per year for a single person and $33,936 per year for a family of four. Roughly one in five of the city’s children—and nearly half of its Indigenous children—are living in poverty, Alexander says.

The oil price slump that began in 2014 has more Edmontonians worried about keeping a roof over their heads and having enough food to eat, she says.

“There are more people who are living on the edge—really, there are,” she says.

Affordable housing in the city has become very scarce, she says—partly as a result of a “knock-down” effect: the bad economic times force more people to seek cheaper housing, making it harder for the very poor to compete for it and pushing them into increasingly desperate circumstances.

“If you really are at the bottom…you just get pushed further and further down, if that were possible,” she says. “At the moment, the food bank is reporting greater numbers of people using it, of course, and I think that people are, in general, using a lot more of those kinds of resources to help them be able to keep their home.”

For its part, the diocese has been doing “a massive piece of work” in terms of educating members of the church about poverty, Alexander says. This includes encouraging both clergy and parishioners to become better aware of the poverty that might exist in their own neighbourhoods.

Another important principle behind EndPovertyEdmonton is the idea of enabling “wraparound services”—equipping anti-poverty workers to provide numerous services, rather than just, say, supplying clothing or shelter. Alexander says she is also trying to get parishes that provide food, clothing and other supports to the needy to build links with other agencies, especially those providing wraparound services.

One factor Alexander believes could be a “game-changer” in fighting poverty is increasing mental health services and supports. With that in mind, she says, the diocese is planning to have all its clergy certified in mental health first aid, a form of training intended to help people recognize the signs of mental health crises, and provide immediate help.

With the support of a $10,000 grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC), the diocese is also creating an interfaith community action guide, a resource booklet with information for faith communities on how they can take part in EndPovertyEdmonton. As of press time, the booklet, developed in partnership with a local synagogue and other religious groups, was weeks from being published. The diocese also works with a local interfaith housing collective.

While many other jurisdictions also have anti-poverty plans, Alexander says, a unique feature of EndPovertyEdmonton is that reconciliation and the elimination of racism are at its heart, and much of the initiative, she says, is shaped by the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The diocese has been undertaking a number of initiatives aligned with these goals, including two more AFC-funded projects. One is an art installation that will feature a large tree, inspired by a traditional Métis story, that will serve as a focus of stories of healing. The other will work toward advancing Indigenous/non-Indigenous reconciliation in co-operation with other faith groups, and explore the effect it has on poverty, Alexander says.

What excites her most about the church’s involvement in EndPovertyEdmonton, Alexander says, is that it allows the church to show it’s serious in living out the gospel’s promise to the poor.

“It opens the door for us to actually say what we mean when we say that the gospel’s good news for the poor, I think—and so I unashamedly do it that way because this is what it’s all about,” she says. “It’s an amazing opportunity to show that we are not an organization that sits outside and says ‘I’ll pray for you,’ but doesn’t get its hands dirty and get involved in transforming a society.”

 

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, January 25, 2017